Last year Matt Iglesias All news made a post offering bad news. Allowing for hyperball, I think it’s fairly true. But I think there was a time when it wasn’t true, when a lot of the news was good. To be fair, Iglesias is mostly considering a certain kind of popular headline news, which has always been influenced by bad events. There are always stories of houses burning more than houses that did not burn. But today, even more intelligent news sources are dominated by bad news. This was not true in the 1980s and 1990s.

In the late 20th century, I enjoyed reading news outlets such as The Economist, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Far Eastern Economic Review. Sources in the news focus on public policy issues, especially economic and political issues.

Those decades were influenced by the good news, as one country after another abandoned authoritarianism and moved toward democracy. Almost every developed country has introduced major tax reforms. Many developed countries privatize state-owned enterprises and deregulate prices and production. Free trade agreement is announced. Immigration was liberalized. One economic reform after another. Inflation has been brought down. Democracies advanced in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere.

Now I am presenting this news with tired fear. I know there is no possibility of good news, just endless stories of the rise of nationalism, authoritarianism, militarism, statistics, xenophobia, etc. One unfavorable economic policy after another. The world is still advancing in terms of technology through the invention of Nifty like the iPhone. But on political and economic issues, the news seems to be rampant.

In rare cases where I see a Positive titleEven good news turns out to be bad.

Even the economy is going Quick descent. I consider myself an economist of the late twentieth century, and I have little in common with today’s economists.

In the 1960’s, I watched Star Trek on TV. The future looked bright. I never imagined the twenty-first century would be a dark, irrational place, retreating from the reform era of the 1980s and 1990s.

Young people may live longer so that the cycle returns to the good news. (It happened after 1914-45.) I don’t expect to live that long.

Or am I getting old? Please let me know if I miss all the wonderful policy news.

PS Before the Great Depression, when it was still possible to be optimistic about the world, I did one Long paper on neo-liberalism. I have discussed three model countries: Denmark, Switzerland and Singapore. They were different in many ways, but they all had one thing in common – they were number one in the world in an important category (values, politics and technological policy, respectively). Tim Peach sent me to one Bloomberg article Which shows that 15 years later these three have emerged as the three most competitive economies in the world. Um, of course, yes, I know this, why it’s something known in advance. If the world were to enter a new dark age, these would probably be the three countries that would last the longest.

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